Jason Rios, a paranoid schizophrenic, used a crowbar to beat his family, killing his disabled mother and 9-year-old niece.
Ernesto and Angela Rios were trying to keep their four grandchildren together after they’d been removed from their mother for substance abuse and placed in foster homes.
To makes matters even more difficult, Angela was wheelchair bound after losing her legs to diabetes. Also living in the home was their son, Rios, who family say suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
On the morning of Feb 5, Ernesto woke his four grandchildren, Jenica Randazzo, 9; La’nyla Heater, 7; Chancellor Rios, 4; and Dominic Putnam, 13, for to school and hopped in the shower.
Soon after he entered the bathroom, Ernesto heard screaming. He rushed into his granddaughter’s room only to find La’nyla bloodied with severe head injuries and Jason on top of her with a crowbar. Ernesto was able to take the weapon from his son then forced him outside of the house.
The two boys, who were uninjured, fled down the street to the home of a retired police officer who went to assist the family, while his wife stayed with the children and called 911.
Jason unsuccessfully tried getting back inside the house before barricading himself inside a neighboring, unoccupied home. SWAT was called in and a crisis negotiator attempted to contact Jason but was unsuccessful. Fearing he was armed, SWAT used a BearCat to break through a wall and deployed a flash-bang before entering the house.
Jason was apprehended and led to an armored vehicle where he collapsed and knocked himself unconscious. Police would then notice wounds to Jason’s neck, head and torso which were later found to be caused by a drill bit and an auger. He was taken to the hospital to treat these self inflicted injuries.
Inside the Rios home, responders would find Angela Rios dead. La’nyla Heater was transported to a local hospital but would later die from her injuries. Her sister Jenica Randazzo was also taken to the hospital and is listed in stable condition.
Jason is currently held in Land-O-Lakes jail, charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
Brian Bostick, executive director of Eckerd Community Alternatives, said that “there were no indications that could have predicted this tragic outcome” and that caseworkers never knew Jason displayed erratic behavior, or may have drug abuse or diagnosed mental illness issues.
Bostick also stated that Rios passed a criminal background check and that there were “positive reports” of Jason bonding with the children.